Bloomberg Aptitude Test or BAT
The financial industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade and there has been a growing demand for financial expertise in a specialized area of finance. However, with the rising competition levels, it has also become a difficult task for employers to screen candidates for their knowledge and skills based on an objective set of criteria. To meet this challenge and help students and aspiring professionals assess their suitability for a career in finance, Bloomberg Institute launched the BAT Test in 2010.
Within the few years of its existence, BAT or Bloomberg Aptitude Test has earned a great deal of credibility and has become quite popular among students looking to assess their abilities for a finance career. A growing number of employers also consider BAT scores a reliable way of assessing the suitability of an individual for a specific area of finance.
IMPORTANT UPDATE – Please note that as of January 2016, Bloomberg is no longer offering BAT sessions on campus or online.
Bloomberg now offers Bloomberg Market Concepts instead
What Bloomberg Aptitude Test (BAT) is Really About?
Bloomberg Aptitude Test tests students for their knowledge in several specific areas of finance and instead of focusing on an academic understanding of the financial concepts, the test is designed to assess the ability of an individual to apply theoretical knowledge to real-life scenarios. This also makes it a much better filter for employers looking to hire individuals with the desired skill set and problem-solving abilities. Bloomberg Aptitude Test is a two-hour long exam consisting of 100 multiple choice questions that test the student for eight sections. However, there is no specific curriculum or study material based on which someone can prepare for the exam. For the sake of guidance, Bloomberg has provided a series of sample questions on their website related to Bloomberg Test Prep.
Bloomberg Aptitude Test – What Exactly One is Tested for?
Out of the eight sections for which students are tested, four are focused on skills required for business-oriented roles and four on finance-oriented roles. Here we would elaborate on this broad division of sections.
Skills for Business-Oriented Roles:
The four areas focused on skills for business-oriented roles include News Analysis, Economics, Mathematics, and Analytical reasoning. Here we would try to shed light on each of these sections to help gain a better understanding of these areas:
- News Analysis: One has to analyze brief passages of financial relevance and answer questions designed to assess the abilities of inference and logical deduction. The ability to analyze and infer any new developments with an economic impact is essential for any business person.
- Economics: One has to study and interpret economic information including but not limited to consumer behavior, corporate behavior, international relations, global trade policies, and other areas. A piece of broad-based knowledge and understanding of economic behavior holds the key to success in any finance or business career.
- Mathematics: With varying difficulty levels for different questions, problem-solving skills are tested in this section. Mathematics forms a core area of finance and business and this section is meant to assess how good one is with numbers in general.
- Analytical Reasoning: Based on hypothetical scenarios, one has to answer a series of questions utilizing deductive logic, analytical abilities, and an imaginative approach. Without a good level of analytical reasoning, it would be difficult to do well in any business-related role.
Skills for Finance-Oriented Roles:
The remaining four sections are developed to test for skills needed for finance-oriented roles. These sections include Financial Statement Analysis, Investment Banking, Global Markets and Chart, and Graph Analysis. Here we would provide a brief introduction to the content of each of these sections:
- Financial Statement Analysis: This section is aimed at testing the understanding of concepts related to calculation of loss and profits, key financial ratios, and liquidity among other things. These calculations form an important basis for preparing and analyzing financial statements for any business.
- Investment Banking: This section is meant to test the ability of an individual to apply principles of financial and strategic advisory integral to the concept of investment banking. Developing and implementing financial strategies can be critical to success in a finance career.
- Global Markets: The ability to analyze and interpret data related to the functioning of financial markets would be tested in this section. It is aimed at finding out the general level of awareness of an individual about trends and developments in financial markets in general.
- Chart and Graph Analysis: This section is intended to test the ability to study and interpret financial data represented in the form of charts and graphs which could be a key skill for a finance-related career.
Here is the Bloomberg Aptitude Test Sample Questions – Sample Questions; you can download to view all the information on the same.
Scores and Exam Fee of Bloomberg Aptitude Test
- The scores awarded could range from 0-50 for each of the sections and the total score could range from 200-800.
- On test completion, participants receive an overall score and percentile ranking along with performance detail on each section as compared to the global averages.
- This helps make a fair assessment of individual knowledge, skills, and capabilities in any specific area included in the test.
- For the first time, one can sit for an exam free of charge but anyone willing to retake the test would be required to pay $50 charge.
- However, it can only be taken once a month and anyone can sit for the exam, irrespective of whether they are from a financial or non-financial academic background.
Below is a sample score.
Benefits of Going in for Bloomberg Aptitude Test
Bloomberg terminals across 3500 universities in more than 60 countries offer BAT, making it highly accessible for an average student. After completing the exam, student scores are listed on the Bloomberg Institute Talent Search database which can be accessed by prospective employers from the Bloomberg website or through Bloomberg Professional Service from almost any part of the world. It is also important to note that the database does not reveal complete details of individuals and offers only selective information.
Potential employers usually search for prospects based on a number of parameters and on finding an interesting prospect, they can request the details of the candidate and it is only on approval of the candidate that additional information could be made available. This gives rare freedom of choice to test participants, allowing them to choose who can access their information and if they retake the test, earlier, as well as updated scores, are recorded to let users track progress made over time.
Another unique advantage afforded by BAT is that people from non-financial backgrounds who might not find finance an interesting field, not feel confident enough or do not know how to begin working on necessary skills or look for opportunities can sit for the BAT exam and answer these questions for themselves. They would not only be able to assess their individual skills and capabilities in specific areas of finance but could also be approached by potential employers with some attractive opportunities. A number of such employer-employee matches have been facilitated through BAT which might have not been possible otherwise.
Top scorers could also be invited to the Bloomberg Summer Intern Challenge, which features international panels and offers interesting networking opportunities for participants. A number of past participants recommend taking the test simply to be able to find out whether one has what it takes to be in finance and for the kind of career opportunities it might afford in terms of internships and entry-level positions with investment banks, hedge funds or insurance companies.